ENGLISH TODAY The modern world is becoming smaller all the time. Every day distances between different countries seem less. For this reason it's becoming more and more important to know different languages, especially English. One billion people speak English today. That's about 20% of the world's population. 400 million people speak English as their first language. For the other 600 million people it's either a second language or a foreign language. English is the first language in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the official languages in Canada, the Irish Republic and the Republic of South Africa. As a second language English is spoken in more than 60 countries. It is used by the government, businessmen and universities. English is the language of politics and diplomacy, science and technology, business and trade, sport and pop music. 80% of all information in the world's computers is in English. 75% of the world's letters and faxes are in English. 60% of all international telephone calls are made in English. More than 60% of all scientific journals are written in English. To know English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person, for every good specialist. Learning a language is not an easy thing. It's a long and slow process that takes a lot of time and patience. But it's a must. English is taught throughout the world and a lot of people speak it quite well. In our country English is very popular: it is studied at schools (sometimes even at nursery schools), colleges and universities. Everyone will speak English soon — I'm sure of it. We all need to understand each other. To do that we need an international language, and that's English.